Montana Football: Situation Gets Worse as NCAA Sits and Waits

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 2, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks as Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State president looks on, during a press conference at the NCAA's headquarters to announce sanctions against Penn State University's football program on July 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sanctions are a result of a report that the university concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Last week, after Jim Delany talked about the NCAA possessing the moral authority to act against Penn State, we hit on the situation at Montana.

Well, as the New York Daily News reported yesterday, things have escalated, as quarterback Jordan Johnson was charged with rape. Johnson becomes the second Grizzly to be charged with rape in 2012 as the program battles a mounting sexual assault scandal.

And the NCAA sits and waits.

In March, head coach Robin Pflugrad was fired, as was athletic director Jim O'Day, resulting from allegations that the two had worked to minimize and cover up football players being implicated in a sexual assault scandal.

And the NCAA sits and waits.

Montana commissioned former state Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz to do the same thing Louis Freeh did for Penn State: gather information and evidence with respect to the alleged issues. She filed her report in February.

And the NCAA sits and waits.

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The NCAA is reportedly investigating the Montana situation. They apparently have been "looking into things" since May 31st. That's a full two months more "investigating" than they did, or had to do, in the case of Penn State. It also comes after Barz filed Montana's own "Freeh Report" in February.

And the NCAA sits and waits.

Waits for what?

Waits for something else to go wrong at the school? Waits until people forget all about it because it is Montana, a school that's not exactly one of the bell cows of the college sports landscape?

Waits for the fervor following their moral obligation to discipline Penn State to die down and then do what they normally do in situations like this—nothing?

While I was against the NCAA intervening in the Penn State situation, I understand that that is the road they elected to travel down. With that move being made, they now have to continue down that path. They don't get to tell folks that "only Penn State's cover-up mattered."

There was a gap in reporting by head coach Robin Pflugrad, and athletic director Jim O'Day worked to minimize the information being revealed, electing, as the Missoulian reported, to discount the student-athlete ties.

The NCAA is not equipped to handle this. The penalties of vacated games and postseason bans are not adequate responses to rape cover-up. However, that's the hand they've dealt themselves in their rush to capitalize on the public outcry against Penn State.

Time for them to step up to the plate. If they don't, we'll know just how opportunistic they were with the Nittany Lions. 


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